Ratings Roundup: MLB Playoffs Score Record High for MLB Net, Up and Down for TBS

Compiled by Jason Dachman, Managing Editor, SVG

Not surprisingly, MLB Network’s first-ever postseason game on Sunday, Game 2 of the Tigers-A’s ALDS seris, was the channel’s most-viewed telecast ever with 1.3 million viewers. That is up 107% over the previous high. MLB Network also drew its highest-ever coverage rating, nabbing a 1.3, up 63% from the previous best.

Through the first three days of the postseason, TBS’s coverage was up 15% in household rating and up 14% among total viewers compared to last year. The network’s telecasts averaged a 2.3 U.S. household rating (compared to a. 2.0 rating a year ago) and 3,628,000 total viewers. TBS hit a high note with Friday’s Orioles/Rangers American League Wild Card game drew 5.304 million viewers on TBS, the highest of any 2012 postseason game through the first five days. The game drew over one million more viewers than the top Division Series game thus far — Monday’s Yankees/Orioles Game 2 (4.222M).

However, since then, TBS’s coverage has failed to live up to last year’s ratings. On Tuesday, Game 3 of the Tigers/Athletics American League Division Series drew 4.216 million viewers on TBS, down 40% from Yankees/Tigers Game 4 last year (7.012M). Earlier in the night, Giants/Reds Game 3 drew 3.620 million — down 22% from Phillies/Cardinals Game 3 last year (4.617M). The previous night, Game 2 between the Yankees and Orioles scored 4.222 million viewers was down 30% from Yankees/Tigers Game 3 last year (6.046M). In the first game of Monday’s doubleheader, Nationals/Cardinals Game 2 drew 2.670 million — down 23% from Rangers/Rays Game 3 last year (3.474M).

The national networks aren’t the only ones reaping the rewards of MLB playoff baseball however, as YES Network’s Orioles-Yankees post-game show last night was the most-watched and highest-rated post-season first-round post-game show on YES in eight years (October 9, 2004).  Last night’s show averaged 128,000 TV HHs (a 1.73 average TV HH rating).   It peaked from 11:30-11:45 with a 2.47 TV HH rating (182,000 TV HHs). The October 9, 2004 Twins-Yankees post-game show (ALDS Game 4) averaged 228,000 TV HHs (a 3.10 average TV HH rating).

Just days before Fox is scheduled to take up its postseason efforts, Sports Business Daily reports that the network’s average of a 1.7 rating and 2.5 million viewers for 24 regular season MLB telecast windows during the 2012 season is down 6% in ratings and 7% in viewership from a 1.8 and 2.7 million viewers in each of the past three seasons. The 1.7 rating is the lowest ever for the Major League Baseball “Game of the Week” on broadcast television. Baseball on FOX has now either set or tied a regular season record-low in each of the past five seasons. Ratings for baseball on FOX have now either declined or remained flat in ten consecutive seasons…

…While Fox and CBS’s Sunday NFL coverage scored solid numbers, the rest of the NFL rights-holding crew struggled last week.

Fueled by a Tom Bardy-Peyton Manning showdown, the late game in CBS’s NFL doubleheader on Sunday between the Patriots and Broncos earned an overnight household rating/share of 15.7/29, which is up 1% from last year’s 15.6/30 (New York Jets-New England). That is the second-highest of the season for the NFL national window, trailing only Week 1 coverage on FOX (17.1). In addition, the network’s regional coverage earlier in the day scored an overnight HH rating/share of 9.3/19, up 2% from last year’s 9.1/20.

Meanwhile, Fox’s NFL singleheader window earned a 12.5 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon — up 17% from coverage featuring Eagles/Bills last year (10.7). The 12.5 overnight is the second-highest of the season for the NFL singleheader, behind only coverage on FOX in Week 2 (13.3).

The Week 5 Chargers/Saints “Sunday Night Football” game drew an 11.2 final rating and 18.306 million viewers on NBC, down 16% in ratings and 17% in viewership from Packers/Falcons last year (13.4, 22.046M). The game ranks as the lowest rated and least-viewed “SNF” telecast of the season.

The Week 5 Texans/Jets “Monday Night Football” game drew a 9.0 U.S. rating and 14.047 million viewers on ESPN, down 13% in ratings and 14% in viewership from Bears/Lions last year (10.3, 16.378M). The game drew the smallest numbers for “MNF” since the Week 1 doubleheader. Thus far, ESPN’s MNF is averaging a 10.4 household coverage rating (9.0 US) and 13,981,000 viewers, up 4% and 3%, respectively, from the same point last season.

Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football ranked as the lowest rated and least-viewed NFL telecast of the season on any network (4.3 U.S. rating and 6.435 million viewers). With that said, the numbers were still quite strong for NFL Network. Only two of the network’s eight telecasts last season matched or exceeded last week’s 4.3 rating, and only three drew more viewers…

…On the college football front, Notre Dame’s resurgence paying dividends for NBC this season, as viewership is up 45% vs. last year (4.2 million vs. 2.9 million). Primetime coverage of Miami/Notre Dame from Soldier Field last Saturday night was seen by 3.7 million viewers, up 131% vs. last year’s third game on NBC…
…Last weekend’s UFC on FX 5 telecast averaged 1.1 million viewers for the Oct. 5 main card. That is off pace from the 1.3 million average for the four previous specials…

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